I do not remember exactly how I came across this video, but I found it extremely interesting because it highlights many positive and negative elements of the trans experience. The video uses the story of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet that desires to be a ‘real boy,’ in order to illustrate the life of a trans child. It uses the same characters, the Blue Fairy, Gepetto, Pinocchio, and the Conscious, Jiminy Cricket, but instead of desiring to be a ‘real boy,’ Pinocchio wishes to be a ‘real girl.’ She even picks a new name – Emily.
The Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket are two positive influences in Emily’s life. They reinforce and support Emily’s wishes, and they are conscious of how trans children should be treated. Once Jiminy Cricket learns of Emily’s wishes, he no longer refers to Emily as a boy. He only uses the feminine pronouns, and he insists that Gepetto value Emily’s hopes. Similarly, the Blue Fairy is the person who assures Emily that it is possible to be a girl, “as long as you believe.” She asserts that “it makes no difference who you are,” everyone should be happy. She discourages Gepetto’s negative attitudes, and she highlights Emily’s choice. The messages presented by these two characters, as well as Emily’s insistence and confidence, are positive and should be applied to all trans experiences with friends and family members. Additionally, the clip uses trans language that many gender-variant people can identify with. For example, Emily’s insistence of being a “girl trapped in a boy’s body” reflects the sentiments of many transgendered and transsexual individuals. However, few add the component of being “trapped in a puppet’s body,” unless you interpret the puppeteer to be public opinion and social expectations. In this case, almost every gender-variant person is trapped by societal practices and cultural standards, as well as the physical constraints of their genitalia.
Nonetheless, the clip does present some negative perspectives. The majority of the film concentrates only on genitals. Emily does not vividly express her emotional or psychological identity as a girl. She believes that the only way to validate her identity is by undergoing a gender reassignment surgery – in this case, a wood chipper. Additionally, she does not speak to any professional; she simply “chops” it off. Unfortunately, genital mutilation is a major concern in trans communities. In some cases, frustration and disappointment build in an individual until he/she breaks. “Chopping it off” is a real concern for young MTF individuals, yet the video offers this as a solution. Hopefully, the end of this video does not encourage anyone to take such tragic, dangerous measures in their own lives.
One person that commented on the video acknowledged the positive and negative references in the video, but he/she added a component that I had not thought of. College Humor aims to poke fun at any and every social identity that exists. Therefore, by creating a humorous video about gender-variant experiences, College Humor is normalizing them. By appearing on this popular website, gender-variance seems less peculiar in the greater social sphere.